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Unilever looks to expand global IT innovation centre in Bangalore

Unit to be Unilever's largest operating centre, will support Hindustan Unilever as well as the global Unilever business

Raghuvir Badrinath  |  Bangalore 

Unilever, the global major, on Thursday said that its global IT innovation and global enterprise support centre in Bangalore will be expanded in due course.  The centre which has been functional since May 2012 currently employs 1,400 people, and focuses on IT Innovation, IT Services, Information Management Operations and Finance Services. This unit will be the largest operating centre for and will support Hindustan as well as the global business. This centre will work closely with its IT Services hub in the North West UK and the Finance Hub in Poland and will deliver services 24/7.

Unilever CEO, Paul Polman officially inaugurating the centre on Thursday said that Unilever looks at IT and Business Services as a source of significant competitive advantage. "Unilever is therefore streamlining operational processes and leveraging technology to win in the market – through a better connection with consumers and customers driving cost-efficient business operations, enabling employees to work in an agile and collaborative manner and reducing its environmental impact. 

Since launching Enterprise Support and IT Innovation as our global services and technology organizations, we have been able to deliver technology that boosts our consumer and customer connectivity, improve services and reduce costs," Polman said.

Unilever is depending on a number of technology services vendors for its centre in India. Out of the current 1,400 employees, 500 are direct employees of Unilever, while the rest are from vendors. Unilever and its vendors are currently occupying 200,000 square feet in the sprawling tech centre across 8 floors and another three floors are being added taking the total space to be occupied to 375,000 square feet over a period of time.

The IT Services and Innovation activities include building and supporting some of Unilever's Global SAP platforms and the IT capabilities for Customer Development and Collaboration. Information Management focuses on Reporting and Analytics with a big drive towards information simplification. Finance Services covers various finance processes including Purchase-To-Pay, Record-To-Report and Controls.

Paulman added that the establishment of this centre reflects the growing importance of developing and emerging (D&E) markets like India for Unilever business. "Currently, D&E markets contribute 55 per cent of Unilever revenues. Unilever is making a fundamental shift towards allocating resources to D&E markets. D&E led innovation and services will ensure that this is aligned to our high growth markets and will also service our developed markets in a very cost efficient manner. The Unilever IT centre in Bangalore will leverage the strong IT & ITES vendor eco-system in India," he explained.

First Published: Thu, November 22 2012. 17:13 IST